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Being Mindful in Nature

Mindfulness is defined as the psychological process of bringing one’s attention to experiences occurring in the present moment, which can be cultivated through meditation. There are many ways that people practice mindfulness, but what about being mindful in nature? This article will explore five ways that being mindful in nature can improve your life.


Benefits of being mindful in nature

When you’re in nature, you’re not just taking in the sights, you’re also taking in oxygen, vitamin D, and serotonin. You’re getting a dose of Vitamin N, aka nature. Research shows that just 10 minutes of being outside can lower stress levels by 68%.To get a feel for what it’s like to be mindful in nature just a few minutes at a time, go to some local nature preserves or volunteer at a local nature center.

Before you go, make sure you leave your phone or any distractions at home.


Walking in a park or on the lawn near your house each morning can provide an instant mindfulness boost by getting your mind off of work and thinking about something other than work. Most parks have benches you can sit and read or catch up with a friend. Suggestions for proper posture while sitting include arching your back slightly with your shoulders back and reaching your fingertips toward the ground behind you. Avoid switching seats or looking down, and look at the horizon to discover some of the beauty nature has to offer if you haven’t already.


Any time you are into nature, you’re likely to run into water. It’s very easy to be so focused on your work that you forget to take a little step outside and think about the world around you. So every few minutes, take a long cross-country or track run outside to a local park or pond. Ask the kids, who get giddy every time they come upon a flowing body of water, to point out the interesting things they see. And don’t forget to fill your water bottle and bring it back to your house. This helps reduce the chances that you’ll forget to drink further messages from your work.

How to practice mindfulness in nature

The American Psychological Association has done research that shows that the benefits of nature are huge.(It all started in a forest!) David Perlis PhD, author of “The Happiness Track,” says that the “feeling of awe” a natural setting provides “can increase your happiness and calm your stress.” He mentions that people flourish in environments that are like the “Miracle on 34th Street” where people can feel the peacefulness of being together despite vastly different cultures and skill levels.

If you want to get a deeper understanding of how your mind works, Perlis advocates mindfulness that involves bringing attention to tasks with a subtle awareness of what you are feeling and what is happening. He explains, “meditation is deep enough that after 5–10 minutes of sitting in an uninterrupted, relaxed stillness, you notice the novelty and strangeness of being alive, and by the end of the first hour, you are completely absorbed in whatever task you are dealing with.” For more profound learning, Perlis recommends psychoeducation or visiting talk therapy.

Granted, these methods are sometimes boring. Some of us need more zing from nature, others the blues. That’s OK. In his book “Perception of Perfection: 30-Day Mindfulness Plan,” the now-famous meditation teacher Jack Kornfield takes us on a unique adventure through nature working with a purpose. He begins with the following statistics:

More than 1/3 of adults don’t appreciate their own bodies, and 1/3 of adults have major dispositions to feel inferior.

Currently, only 5-10% of the population memo about their bodies.

Over 80% of adults equate effort with joy and achievement.

Only 4% of adults have balanced dispositions for happiness and fulfillment.

Over 80% of adults value large achievements more than small achievements.

Take advantage of the outdoors

The outdoors is a great way to unwind and get in touch with nature. The environment around you affects how you feel. Research has shown that being in a natural environment can have a calming effect which is why going to a park or going for a walk in nature can improve your mood and make you feel better.

Here are a few ways being mindful on your next hike or walk in nature can positively impact your life.

1. Get out of the city’s way.

Simply getting out of the city to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city is great for your mind and body. It can be hard to find a quiet place in the city. Walking distances may be long or down-and-dirty, making it difficult to get in touch with your senses and mind in a calm and nature way.

Instead, get your daily walks outside, where many people may not even realize they are walking in the wild. Nature, at least in cities, lacks privacy. Most of the time, you will be surrounded by people and traffic. On a stroll through the woods or a park, you may be tempted to take more selfies and check your cell phone more frequently. However, you can be more present in nature by being mindful and clearly paying attention to everything around you.

2. Breathe together.

This may sound simple, but being aware of your breath and noticing the journey it takes you takes to reach your destination will help you to be more present in the moment. When you are mindful of taking your breath, you will notice where and how your body is moving. By being aware of these three things, you can tune into your physical sensations and even experience feelings without wishing them upon them. This practice has been known to heal emotional problems and even increase energy levels.

River in a beautiful green nature reserve in summer

Enjoy the benefits of being mindful in nature

Being mindful in nature can be a great way to take a mental break from your busy life. There are lots of benefits to being mindful in nature, like improving your mood, reducing stress, and increasing creativity. Taking a mental break in nature can also help you to be more mindful in other parts of your life like your work and relationships.

Eliminate Difficulty & Anxiety

Many hiking trails are published with a half mile walk recommended for your first time. While on a hike, use your internal GPS tracker to find the designated half mile walk for you hike. (This will give you a chance to practice directional awareness and to pay attention.) During your hike, notice any nearby trees or sharp rocks that you cannot see from the trail or the parking lot — for easy walks, try to walk past these obstacles without being concerned. This will help prevent you from panicking or obsessing over an injury while also improving your fitness level.

Visualize the Journey

As you practice being mindful in nature, it can be helpful to bring your attention to physical sensations in the environment or in your body. One of the easiest ways to focus on sensations in the environment is to visualize each step as it takes place in your mind. This can be done by imagining the route you plan to take, whether it takes gentle incline, climbs steep hill, or involves steep grades and large amounts of physical mileage.

Notice how each of the items in your mind’s eye were accompanied or preceded by physical sensations. Thoughts such as: “I am feeling nauseated; what should I do?” or “I am hungry; how should I respond?” can be labeled as thoughts that circled in my head whereas little bran flakes could be labeled as physical sensations in my body. Practice noticing the sights, sounds, and feelings in the mind’s eye as you travel on your hike.

Conclusion: Being mindful in nature can improve your life by helping you focus more on what is happening right now, rather than worrying about what has already happened or what could happen later. Here are five ways that you can be mindful in nature to improve your life!
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